Ukraine-Russia LIVE: Peace talks collapse as terrifying convoy of Belarus troops close in

Putin on high alert as US Army drone spotted just 20 miles from Polish-Ukrainian border

A US Army drone has been seen flying over Poland close to the border with Ukraine, according to sources.

Aircraft account @CivMilAir tweeted that a US Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle was reportedly flying 17,000 feet up in  airspace 20 miles from the  border.

The @CivMilAir account regularly posts civil and military aircraft movements from around the world.

This news comes as fears rise that Putin may begin targeting civilians as Russian forces continue to bombard Ukraine.

Explosions have been reported in Kyiv, with one attack on a military radar communication centre in the suburb of Brovary.

The mayor of Brovary, Ihor Sapozhko, said the explosion injured six people.

Russian economic sanctions cause ‘nightmare’ for civilians as effects of Ukraine war hit

Many western countries have imposed strict sanctions on Russia, including a raft of measures decide to cripple their economy.

Russian citizens have reportedly begun to panic, with queues at shops and the ruble collapsing.

The currency fell by 30 percent on Monday before climbing back up to 20 percent.

William Legate posted on Twitter that “Russian banks are starting to run out of money” as people desperately withdraw cash.

Interest rates have also doubled.

Francesca Edwards

Zelenskyy says Russia has fired 56 rocket strikes since invasion began

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said it is time for the West to consider imposing a no-fly zone for Russian, missiles, planes, and helicopters. 

In a video address, the Ukrainian President did not say who should enforce it, or how. 

He also said Russia had launched a total of 56 rocket strikes and fired 113 cruise missiles since the Invasion began on Thursday. 

He went on to say: “I believe that Russia is trying to apply pressure in this unsubtle way. Do not waste time. We do not accept such tactics.

Fair negotiations can occur when one side does not hit the other side with rocket artillery at the very moment of negotiations,”

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Image: Getty)

Francesca Edwards

Russia used vacuum bomb, says ambassador

Russia used a vacuum bomb on Monday, the Ukrainian ambassador to the US has said. 

Oksana Markarova said: “They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention.

“The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.”

Francesca Edwards

Germany U-turn madness as Scholz makes hat-trick of climb downs on Ukraine invasion

German Chancellor Olaf Schloz has made three dramatic U-turns.

During his meeting to the Bundestag, Mr Scholz announced that in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some of Germany’s fundamental policies must be reversed.

He vowed to increase Germany’s defence spending as well as creating new gas storage reserves after Berlin halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in wake of the invasion.

Mr Scholz also promised to expel Russian banks from SWIFT and said: “Together with the Heads of State and Government of the EU, we have passed a package of sanctions on an unprecedented scale.”

Francesca Edwards

Troops need to pull back or risk ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

Vladimir Putin has been urged to pull his troops out of Ukraine to prevent further “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Addressing the UN Security Council in New York, UK representative Dame Barbara Woodward said: “Whatever my Russian colleague claims, the world can see Russia’s indiscriminate attacks against men, women and children across Ukraine and its disregard for international humanitarian law.”

She added that missiles had “rained down” on Kharkiv and “hundreds of civilians had been killed as a result of the Russian invasion. 

Dame Barbara said Britain “stands with the Ukrainian people during their time of need” as she outlined the aid pledged by the UK Government.

She concluded: “We know that a humanitarian response is not enough to save the Ukrainian people from the disaster that Russia is inflicting upon them.

“So, our message today is simple. Once again, for the sake of humanity, we call on President Putin to stop this war and withdraw his forces from Ukraine.”

Francesca Edwards

Louis Tomlinson cancels shows in Moscow and Kyiv

Former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson has been forced to cancel his upcoming shows in Moscow and Kyiv. 

Announcing the news on social media he said the safety of his fans is his “priority” adding that his “thoughts go out to the people of Ukraine and all those suffering from his needless war.”

Francesca Edwards

Facebook and Instagram to restrict access Russian media outlets

Meta will restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik across the European Union. 

Nick Glegg, former deputy prime minister and now president of the company which owns Facebook and Instagram announced the news in a tweet. 

He said the social media company had received requests from a number of governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media on its platforms.

We have received requests from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state controlled media. Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time.

u2014 Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) February 28, 2022

Francesca Edwards

Russia rapidly becoming more isolated as 12 major diplomats expelled from US

Russia is facing more isolation as 12 of Russia’s Unites Nationals missions have been expelled from the United States. 

The diplomats have until March 7 to leave the US.

This comes ahead of a vote this week to isolate Russia by deploring its “aggression against Ukraine” and demanding Russian troops stop fighting and withdraw.

The General Assembly will vote this week on a draft resolution similar to a text vetoed by Russia in the 15-member Security Council on Friday.

Francesca Edwards

Donations pour in for Ukraine refugees

Hundreds of Londoners have donated to Ukraine refugees. 

Bags of clothes, toothbrushes, baby supplied and children’s toys were collected at the White Eagle Club, a Polish social centre in Balham before they are driven to Poland. 

Donations can be seen stacked to the ceiling after an appeal went out on Sunday. 

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour MP for Tooting responded to the appeal saying: “Am always so proud of our community.

“The White Eagle Club on Balham High Road needs more volunteers every day to assist with sorting through the generous donations.”

Donations at the White Eagle Club in Balham

Donations at the White Eagle Club in Balham (Image: PA)

Francesca Edwards

Festival asks for resignation of honorary president over ties with Putin

The Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) said it has asked for and accepted the resignation of Russian conductor Valery Gergiev as its honorary president, with immediate effect.

In a statement, the board of trustees said: “Edinburgh is twinned with the city of Kyiv and this action is being taken in sympathy with, and support of, its citizens.”

Mr Gergiev has been dropped by his management company over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Francesca Edwards

Boris Johnson calls on leaders to ramp up military support

Boris Johnson has urged western leaders to supply weapons to Ukraine. 

During a call with other world leaders and representatives of the EU and NATO, including the US, France and Germany, the Prime Minister “stressed the need for countries to continue supporting the Ukrainian government, including with the provisions of defensive weapons”. 

A spokesperson said: “The prime minister welcomed the unity of message and action between countries in recent days in response to Russia’s invasion. He stressed the need to continue applying pressure on Putin’s regime, including on SWIFT, with sanctions and with trade restrictions.”

Francesca Edwards

France moves embassy from Kyiv

France has become the last western country to move its embassy in Ukraine from Kyiv. 

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the embassy will move to the western city of Lviv. 

Reacting for the first time after Russian President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert, Le Drian said the move made no sense and that the leader had lost the communications battle since launching operations in Ukraine last Thursday.

The minister added that a draft resolution put forward at the United Nations Security Council later on Monday would call for an immediate ceasefire.

Francesca Edwards

Liz Truss to call on UN to ‘isolate Russia’

Liz Truss will attend a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday. 

The Foreign Office confirmed the Foreign Secretary will go to the meeting in Geneva where she will urge the council to “isolate Russia and condemn its actions unreservedly”. 

The Cabinet minister is expected to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “murdering Ukrainians indiscriminately” and that there is “blood on his hands”.

“Putin is violating international law, including the UN Charter. He is violating human rights on an industrial scale and the world will not stand for it,” she is due to tell the council.

“There are no shades of grey to this conflict. It is about right and wrong. This is Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war against a sovereign nation. There can be no apologising or excusing it.”

Francesca Edwards

Nine killed in heavy shelling in Kharkiv

Nine people have died after heavy shelling in Kharkiv today. 

The Mayor confirmed the deaths adding that 37 were also injured, including children. 

Ukraine’s second-largest city came under fire on Monday as Russian forces were met stiff resistance.

A view of a school destroyed as a result of fight not far from the centre of Kharkiv

A view of a school destroyed as a result of fight not far from the centre of Kharkiv (Image: Getty)

Francesca Edwards

Shell announced end to all join venture with Russian gas firm

Oil giant Shell has announced it will end all joint ventures with Russian gas firm Gazprom, worth around three billion dollars. 

The company also plans to end its involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, which it helped finance as a part of a consortium of companies.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden said: “We are shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine, which we deplore, resulting from a senseless act of military aggression which threatens European security,”

Our decision to exit is one we take with conviction,” 

He added that Shell’s “immediate focus” people from the company in both Ukraine and Russia. 

Francesca Edwards

Images show convoy heading to Kyiv 17 miles long

Russian convoy north of Kyiv is now stretched at least 17 miles. 

There are some gaps in the line but it is so big it was not able to be captured on satellite imager. 

The rows are two to three deep in some areas but it is unclear wether more troops will join the flee.t

A Russian convey of 17 miles outside Kyiv

A Russian convey of 17 miles outside Kyiv (Image: Getty)

Francesca Edwards

FIFA and UEFA suspend Russian clubs and national teams

FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions “until further notice”. 

In a statement, Fifa said: “These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters.”

It went on to say: “Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. 

“Both presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people.”

Francesca Edwards

Ofcom launches 15 investigations into Russia TV channel

Ofcom has launched 15 investigations into Russian-baked television channel RT over the impartiality of its news programming. 

Chief executive Melanie Dawes said: “Given the serious on-going situation in Ukraine, we will be concluding our investigations into RT as a matter of urgency.”

Ofcom said the investigations relate to 15 editions of the hourly News programme broadcast on RT on 27 February 2022 between 05:00 and 19:00 inclusive, and they will be expedited.

Francesca Edwards

Belarus tanks spotted near Ukraine border

Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia have now concluded, but pictures of Belarusian tanks suggest they are preparing to join the invasion. 

Officials from Kyiv and Moscow met at the Belarusian border on Monday. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hoped they would agree on a ceasefire.

But emerging pictures showed Belarusian tanks heading east in what looked to be preparations to join the Russian invasion.

Belarusian tanks spotted near the Ukraine border

Belarusian tanks spotted near the Ukraine border (Image: CHP)

Francesca Edwards

Huge explosion heard in Kyiv

Air Raid sirens have reportedly begun in Kyiv following a “huge explosion”.

Several reporters in the Ukrainian capital have taken to Twitter to share the situation.

We will bring you the latest as we get it.

A 'huge explosion' has been heard in Kyiv

A ‘huge explosion’ has been heard in Kyiv (Image: Sky News)

Big booms heard just now in Kyiv. Air raid sirens have started

u2014 Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) February 28, 2022

Francesca Edwards

Ukraine requests to join EU

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed an official request for Ukraine to join the European Union. 

The Ukrainian President has asked if his country can gain immediate membership. 

Mr Zelenskyy told reporters: “I am sure it is fair. I am sure we deserve this. I am sure that all this is possible.”

Francesca Edwards

Russian embassy vandalised in London

Anti-war placards and graffiti have been displayed across the walls of the Russian Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens in London. 

On Sunday hundreds of demonstrates gathered outside the buildings to make a stand against the invasion. 

Eggs and fake blood also covered the wall as demonstrators sang the Ukrainian national anthem and chanted “Putin stop war” and “Putin go home”.

Anti-war placards and graffiti on the walls of the Russian Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens

Anti-war placards and graffiti on the walls of the Russian Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens (Image: PA)

Hundreds gathered outside the embassy on Sunday to make a stand

Hundreds gathered outside the embassy on Sunday to make a stand (Image: PA)

Francesca Edwards

Russian vessels barred from UK ports

Grant Shapps has written to UK ports asking them to deny access to Russian vessels. 

The Transport Secretary said the vessels are “not welcome here” adding that legislation will follow. 

He asked UK ports not to provide access to ships, “owned, controlled, chartered or operated by any person connected with Russia. 

“Owned, controlled, chartered or operated by Designated Person.”

Or any ships “flying the Russian flag” or “registered in Russia.”

Today I’ve written to all UK ports asking them not to provide access to any Russian flagged, registered, owned, controlled, chartered or operated vessels.

Given Putin’s action in #Ukraine I’ve made clear these vessels are NOT welcome here with prohibiting legislation to follow. pic.twitter.com/5pKzfvcbGi

u2014 Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) February 28, 2022

Francesca Edwards

Truss announced more sanctions

Liz Truss has announced further sanctions against Russia. 

The Foreign Secretary confirmed a “full asset freeze on three further banks”, Sovcombank, Otkritie FC Bank, and VEB.RF. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Truss said the legislation will stop Russian companies from “accessing UK capital markets” and “raising debt here”

Announcing the second piece of legislation she said it “will ban exports to Russia across a range of critical sectors. This includes high-end technological equipment” including marine and navigation equipment which “will blunt Russia’s military industrial capabilities and act as a drag on Russia’s economy for years to come”.

She said she appreciated the consequences for British people and businesses in Russia “but our hardships are nothing compared to those endured by the people of Ukraine”.

Ms Truss echoed the words many have reiterated in the past few days saying Putin’s invasion is “not proceeding to plan”

Francesca Edwards

PM promises commits more military support to Ukraine within hours

Boris Johnson has promised more military support for Ukraine in the coming days. 

During talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the UK Prime Minister was given an update on the Ukrainian resistance. 

A Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Johnson “commended” the bravery of Ukraine including President Zelenskyy, who has been urging citizens to stay and fight for their country.

The spokesperson said: “The leaders categorically condemned the barbaric airstrikes being carried out by Russia against innocent civilians, including children.

“The Prime Minister updated President Zelenskyy on UK military support being sent to Ukraine, and committed to sending more in the coming hours and days.”

Francesca Edwards

Priti Patel announces another 100,000 Ukrainians will be offered sanctuary in the UK

Priti Patel has confirmed an additional 100,000 Ukrainians will be able to “seek sanctuary in the UK with access to work and public services”.

Giving an update in the House of Commons the Home Secretary said immigration staff are working “around the clock”

Ms Patel said: “We are extending visas for UK temporary workers in some sectors who and they can now stay until at least December 2022 primary because no one can return to the UK to the UK.

“Ukraine and anyone in Ukraine intended to apply under the Family migration route should call the dedicated 24-hour helpline for assistance or making an application.

“Britain continues to lead and is doing its fair share in every aspect of this Ukraine conflict.”

Priti Patel announced a further 100,000 Ukrainians will be able to come to the UK

Priti Patel announced a further 100,000 Ukrainians will be able to come to the UK (Image: Sky News)

Francesca Edwards

Putin could agree to stop bombing civilians

Vladimir Putin said he “intends to comment” to stop all bombings against civilians and areas of residence, during talks with French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Macron urged Putin to stop all strikes on civilians in Ukraine, preserve the civilian infrastructure and provide safe access to key roads, especially south of Kyiv, Macron’s office said.

Elysee palace said: ” President Putin confirmed his willingness to commit on these three points.”

The two leaders also agreed to stay in contact in the coming days.

Macron ha vuelto a hablar con Putin. El presidente ruso se ha comprometido a detener todos los bombardeos contra civiles y sus u00e1reas de residencia. Y a mantener abierta carretera hacia el sur de Kiev. (Elu00edseo) pic.twitter.com/vsMzBfcXVX

u2014 Antonio Delgado (@adelgadoRne) February 28, 2022

Francesca Edwards

IOC recommends banning Russian and Belarusian athletes

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended that international sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing. 

The executive board made the decision “in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants”. 

The statement comes ahead of the Winter Paralympics which begins in Beijing on Friday. 

It added: “Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed.”

Francesca Edwards

Good afternoon

Good afternoon I’m Francesca Edwards, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on Russia and Ukraine for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: francesca.edwards@reachplc.com

Twitter: @FrankieLEdwards

Tara Fair

Train station sees Ukrainians trying to return as well as escape

Guardian journalist Lorenzo Tondo reported seeing dozens of people returning to Ukraine as well as those trying to escape. 

Visiting the Przemysl train station, near the border between Poland and Ukraine, he said: “At platform number four, trains arrive with Ukrainian refugees fleeing the country.

“At platform number five, dozens of Ukrainians are instead returning to the country to join the fighting. They are Ukrainians living in Poland.”

Tara Fair

FIFA measures against Russia ‘not going far enough’, says No10

FIFA has not gone far enough in its measures against Russia, according to Number 10.

Football’s governing body has allowed Russia to continue competing under the name “Football Union of Russia”.

Asked whether Boris Johnson thought FIFA had done enough, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said “no”.

The spokesman continued: “The Prime Minister wants FIFA to take the strongest possible action on this and doesn’t think their current measures go far enough.

“I think anyone seeing the situation and the horrific scenes we see on the ground would expect a body like Fifa to do more.

“We do think that Russia should be cut out not just economically but culturally as well to further up the pressure on Putin.”

The spokesman added that Mr Johnson “wholeheartedly welcomes” the Football Association’s confirmation that England will not play Russia.

Tara Fair

Guards intercept ‘saboteurs’ at Kyiv Golden-Domed Monastery

Guards have intercepted a group of saboteurs plotting a suspected attack on one of Ukraine’s best-known religious sites, the Ukrainian Orthodox church has said.

They were planning to attack the St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv,  spokesperson Yevstratiy Zoria said in a statement.

Tensions have been boiling between Ukrainian church leaders and Russia since Ukraine formed a new Orthodox Church in January 2019.

The leader of the new church, Ukrainian Metropolitan Epifaniy, was thought to be among the targets of Russian terror.

St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

British support for action against Russia increases

British support for actions against Russia is increasing. The percentage of people who supported the following is:

More economic sanctions: 77 percent (+8 from 22-23 Feb)

Send more weapons: 60 percent (+14)

Move troops to E. Europe: 54 percent (+9)

Air strikes on Russia targets in Ukraine: 31 percent (+13)

Troops into Ukraine: 26 percent (+4)

Tara Fair

Russian Foreign Minister cancels UN visit due to sanctions

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has canceled his visit to the United Nations in Geneva due to “anti-Russian sanctions” imposed by EU countries, Russia’s mission in Geneva has said.

Lavrov had been scheduled to address the UN Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament in person on Tuesday.

But he has been forced to cancel his trip “due to an unprecedented ban on his flight in the airspace of a number of EU countries that have imposed anti-Russian sanctions,” the mission tweeted.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Switzerland follows EU in sanctioning Russia

Switzerland has followed the rest of the European Union in sanctioning Russia and freezing Russian assets. 

Until now, Switzerland has been torn between showing solidarity with the West and maintaining its traditional neutrality.

In a statement, the government said: “In view of Russia’s continuing military intervention in Ukraine, the Federal Council took the decision on February 28 to adopt the packages of sanctions imposed by the EU on February 23 and 25.”

Switzerland also adopted financial sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, effective immediately, it said.

“Switzerland reaffirms its solidarity with Ukraine and its people; it will be delivering relief supplies for people who have fled to Poland,” the government said, renewing its offer to mediate in the dispute.

Swiss President Ignazio Cassis (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Ukrainian refugees to have right to stay in Europe

The EU is preparing to allow Ukrainian refugees to stay and work in the EU for up to three years. 

At least 400,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the EU so far, EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said after a visit to a border crossing between Romania and Ukraine.

“We have to prepare for millions to arrive in the EU,” she added. 

Ms Johansson is preparing to trigger the EU temporary protection directive, drawn up after the 1990s war in the Balkans, but never used so far.

The EU temporary protection directive is designed to manage mass arrivals of refugees. 

It provides the same level of protection in all member states, including a residence permit and access to employment and social welfare.

Ms Johansson said she hoped EU interior ministers would agree by Thursday on the protection scheme for those fleeing Ukraine.

At least 400,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the EU so far (Image: GETTY)

Refugees on Ukraine-Slovakia border (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Russia bans flights from airlines in 36 countries

Russia has announced it is banning flights from airlines in 36 countries including the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada.

It follows a decision by the EU to ban “Russian-owned, Russian-registered or Russian-controlled aircraft” from its airspace.

The UK also banned Aeroflot flights from landing in Britain, prompting Russia to announce an earlier retaliatory ban on British airlines.

Tara Fair

Russian troops shelling residential areas of Kharkiv

Contrary to Russian claims that its military is only targetting military infrastructure, footage has emerged of them shelling residential areas of Kharkiv with Grad missiles. 

Tara Fair

‘Do not go to Ukraine unless you have combat experience,’ urges Tobias Ellwood

Conservative MP and former soldier Tobias Ellwood has urged Britons not to go to Ukraine unless they have “some form of combat experience”. 

His comment comes a day after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she supports those in the UK who might want to go to Ukraine to fight. 

Mr Ellwood suggested Ms Truss may have been “caught off-guard” by the question yesterday. 

He said he was concerned that young, well-meaning Britons would be inspired to join the military operation to defend Ukraine and get killed or seriously injured. 

Tara Fair

Russia’s nuclear forces put on ‘enhanced combat duty’

Russia’s Defence Ministry said its strategic missile forces and Northern and Pacific fleets had been placed on enhanced combat duty, the Interfax news agency reported.

It added that this was in line with an order from President Putin.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that “shifts on duty at the command posts of the Strategic Missile Forces, the Northern and Pacific Fleets, and the Long-Range Aviation Command began to carry out combat duty with reinforced personnel”.

Tara Fair

US blocks Americans from engaging in transactions with Russia

The United States has blocked Americans from engaging in any transactions involving Russia’s central bank and imposed sanctions on a key Russian sovereign wealth fund, the US Treasury Department announced on Monday.

The sanctions also target Russia’s National Wealth Fund and its Ministry of Finance, the department said in a statement.

US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said: “The unprecedented action we are taking today will significantly limit Russia’s ability to use assets to finance its destabilizing activities, and target the funds Putin and his inner circle depend on to enable his invasion of Ukraine.

“Today, in coordination with partners and allies, we are following through on key commitments to restrict Russia’s access to these valuable resources.”

Tara Fair

‘The whole world must see this horror,’ dozens killed and hundreds injured in shelling

Dozens of civilians have been killed and hundreds more injured during heavy Russian shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials say.

Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to Kyiv’s interior minister, wrote on Facebook that Moscow’s troops had bombarded residential areas with Grad missiles, saying: “Dozens have been killed and hundreds wounded!

“The whole world must see this horror! Death to the occupiers!”

Tara Fair

‘Nothing Liz said warrants that sort of escalation,’ ally hits back at Kremlin claim

An ally of Liz Truss has hit back at the Kremlin’s claim that an unspecified comment made by her sparked Russia’s decision to put nuclear forces on high alert.

Speaking to the Telegraph, the ally said: “Nothing Liz has said warrants that sort of escalation. It’s clearly designed to distract from the situation on the ground in Ukraine.

“The Foreign Secretary has always talked about Nato in the context of it being a defensive alliance.

“Her point is that we stand by Article 5, and that we must do everything we can to help Ukraine short of putting boots on the ground.

“We take it very seriously and want to keep the situation calm.”

Tara Fair

Liz Truss to bite back with major announcement today as Putin nuclear row ramps up

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will give an urgent update in the Commons this afternoon after President Putin blamed her for putting Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert.

The Foreign Secretary will give a statement to MPs on the latest situation as the Kremlin continues to uptake rhetoric on war.

Putin sparked alarm last night after announcing that he wanted Russia’s nuclear weapons to be placed on stand-by as his attack on Ukraine continues to fail to go as planned.

Liz Truss to bite back with major announcement today as Putin nuclear row ramps up (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

‘Putin’s overreach will be the end of him,’ predicts Nigel Farage

Former UKIP and Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, has predicted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “overreach will be the end of him”. 

The GB News presenter said: “The info I am getting is that many Russian soldiers are reluctant to fight their cousins.

“Add to that the oligarchs being hit and will want revenge — it feels like Putin’s overreach will be the end of him.”

The info I am getting is that many Russian soldiers are reluctant to fight their cousins. Add to that the oligarchs being hit and will want revenge u2014 it feels like Putin’s overreach will be the end of him.

u2014 Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

Petrol prices hit record high in UK

Surges in global oil prices prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are being felt at the petrol pump in the UK.

The average price of petrol jumped to £1.51 a litre on Sunday, the RAC said, while diesel rose to £1.55.

Russia is the second-biggest exporter of crude oil, and while only 6 percent of UK imports come from Russia, there are concerns sanctions could restrict supplies worldwide and drive up prices.

Russia previously threatened to double fuel prices if the UK, US and EU followed through with their financial sanctions. 

Petrol prices hit record high in UK (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Civilian deaths in rocket shelling of Kharkiv

There are reports of civilian casualties and vehicles on fire in a rocket shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine. 

Hundreds are injured and dozens have been killed in the attack on the city. 

Tara Fair

Putin abandoned by key allies as fight enters ‘crucial 24 hours’

Vladimir Putin has been abandoned by key allies across the globe after the Russian leader put nuclear forces on high alert, with the Ukrainian President warning the fight has reached a “crucial 24 hours”.

Long-term Russian allies, including China, Turkey and Hungary, have turned away from Moscow after Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert on Sunday.

Citing “aggressive statements” by NATO and tough financial sanctions, Putin issued the order to increase the readiness of nuclear weapons, sending international fears of nuclear war rocketing.

Ukrainians have put up a strong resistance since their country was invaded on Thursday, with Russia suffering significant losses.

In a telephone call on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Prime Minister Boris Johnson the next 24 hours are crucial for Ukraine.

Crisis talks between Ukraine and Russia have now started at the Belarussian border, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak confirmed on Monday.

It comes hours after the Ukrainian president’s office said Ukraine’s goal for the talks was an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.

Tara Fair

Russia blames Liz Truss for nuclear ‘special alert’

Russia has blamed Liz Truss for the nuclear “special alert”, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Vladimir Putin said: “There had been statements by various representatives at various levels about possible conflict situations and even collisions and clashes between Nato and the Russian Federation.

“We consider such statements absolutely unacceptable.

“I will not name the authors of these statements, although it was the British Foreign Secretary.”

Russia blames Liz Truss for nuclear ‘special alert’ (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Russia’s nuclear threats going down ‘very dangerous path’

The EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles, has said Russia’s intention to deploy nuclear equipment to Belarus is moving down a “very dangerous path”. 

Tara Fair

EU summons defence ministers to discuss crisis

The EU is summoning the bloc’s Defence Ministers to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. 

The agenda will centre on “urgent needs” and co-ordinating the bloc’s assistance to the Ukrainians, according to a tweet posted by Josep Borrell Fontelles.

I am convening today the EU defence ministers, to discuss the latest situation on the ground in #Ukraine in view of Russiau2019s unprovoked assault.

We will discuss further urgent needs & coordinate our assistance, with help of the clearing house managed by the EU Military Staff.

u2014 Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

EU has ‘different opinions’ on allowing Ukraine to join bloc

There are “different opinions” amongst the 27 European Union member states on whether Ukraine should be allowed to join the bloc. 

European Council chief Charles Michel said: “There are different opinions and sensitivities within the EU on enlargement.”

He said that Kyiv would have to submit an official request to join, then member states would have to come up with a unanimous position.

Kyiv earlier appealed for membership as Russian troops continue their invasion. 

Tara Fair

More than 500,000 refugees flee Ukraine

More than 500,000 refugees have now fled from Ukraine into neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

More than 500,000 refugees have now fled from Ukraine into neighbouring countries.

u2014 Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

Russian forces seizes two small cities

Russian forces seized two small cities in southeastern Ukraine and the area around a nuclear power plant, the Interfax news agency said on Monday.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said its forces had taken over the towns of Berdyansk and Enerhodar in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhya region as well as the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

Ukrainian authorities deny that Russian troops have captured the nuclear power plant. 

Tara Fair

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich in Belarus for crisis talks

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich is in Belarus to assist with crisis talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Abramovich’s spokesperson said: “I can confirm that Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution, and that he has been trying to help ever since.

“Considering what is at stake, we would ask for your understanding as to why we have not commented on neither the situation as such nor his involvement. Thank you.”

Billionaire Mr Abramovich has come under fire in London over reports of his past relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tara Fair

Britain ‘on the back foot’ in helping Ukrainian refugees, says Labour MP

Britain is “on the back foot” in helping Ukraine’s refugees, according to a Labour MP.

Meg Hillier, who is also the chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, told Sky News: “The government just needs to step up and support people who are fleeing war and terror.

“I think the EU has set the tone here and Britain is on the back foot.

“Britain has done the same with Afghanistan in making it hard for family members to join.

“It needs to understand that family members are one of the easiest groups to get into the country, with support here already embedded.

“People have got homes, jobs and money to support their family members but it could go much further.

“It needs to follow what the EU is doing and we hope, of course, that these refugees will only be temporarily here.

“They want to go back to Ukraine once we hope this conflict is over. In the meantime, the government just needs to step up and support people who are fleeing war and terror.”

Tara Fair

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday called for international unity to end Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Speaking to parliament, Mr Rutte said the world’s free and democratic states were “united in their rejection of this invasion and support for Ukrainian people…

“We must stop Russia’s aggression, Putin’s aggression, jointly with our partners and allies.”

Tara Fair

Greece introduces fresh sanctions

Greece has suspended the issuance and renewal of residence permits to wealthy Russians investing in Greece “until further notice”.

The migration ministry said the decision affects applications currently being considered as well as new ones.

Tara Fair

Ukrainian forces ramp up search measures amid Russian attacks

Ukrainian security forces are increasing search measures amid Russian attacks in the capital, Kyiv. 

The Ukrainian government has intelligence that Russian groups have entered Kyiv with the intention to overturn the administration and carry out attacks. 

Ukrainian security forces increase measures amid Russian attacks in Kyiv (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Russian Defence Ministry accuses Ukraine of using citizens as ‘human shields’

the Russian Defence Ministry has accused the Ukrainian administration of using its citizens as ‘human shields.’

Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defence Ministry’s spokesperson said: “Your nationalist government employs the same tactics as terrorists.

“They want to use you as a human shield.”

He went on to repeat the claim that the Russian military will not inflict strikes on residential areas of Kyiv. 

The Ukrainian administration insists Russian troops have been targeting residential areas, schools and nurseries. 

Tara Fair

Putin to hold emergency meeting amid economic freefall

Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold an emergency meeting of cabinet members and the central bank after a fresh wave of western sanctions sent Russia’s economy into freefall.

The Kremlin said the sanctions had “significantly changed Russia’s economic reality” but insisted the country could weather the impact.

Putin will chair an emergency meeting with his cabinet and the central bank later today after sanctions u201csignificantly changed Russiau2019s economic reality,u201d the Kremlin says.

u201cThese are heavy sanctions, they’re problematic, but Russia has the potential to compensate the damage.u201d

u2014 max seddon (@maxseddon) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

EU acting hostile, Kremlin claims

The Kremlin has accused the EU of acting in a hostile fashion towards Russia. 

It warned that supplying weapons to Ukraine is “dangerous and destabilising” as Russia continues to advance on the country.

Tara Fair

Crisis talks officially commence between Ukraine and Russia

Talks between Ukraine and Russia have started at the Belarussian border, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters via text message on Monday.

Earlier the Ukrainian president’s office said Ukraine’s goal for the talks was an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.

Tara Fair

Popstar volunteers to defend Ukraine against Russian troops

A member of a popular rock and pop band in Ukraine called Boombox has posted videos showing him dressed in army fatigues, holding a gun and singing in the streets of Kyiv.

Andriy Khlyvnyuk (@andriihorolski) is thought to be volunteering in the defence against advancing Russian forces.

On Sunday, he posted a video to his Instagram account showing him standing in a deserted street, hands resting on his weapon and singing a rousing Ukrainian song.

Mr Khlyvnyuk is among a string of high-profile people such as MPs, athletes, and other celebrities who have vowed to join the resistance effort.

Tara Fair

Defence Minister arrives for crisis talks in Belarus

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov arrives to attend the talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia in Belarus’ Gomel region on Monday. 

The Ukrainian delegation includes the Minister of Defence Oleksiy Reznikov, adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Mykola Tochytskyi.

Defence Minister arrives for crisis talks in Belarus (Image: SERGEI KHOLODILIN/BELTA/AFP)

Crisis talks will be held in Belarus on Monday (Image: SERGEI KHOLODILIN/BELTA/AFP)

Tara Fair

‘Save your life and leave,’ President Zelenskyy tells Russian troops

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Russian soldiers to “save your life and leave” Ukraine.

His appeal comes as a delegation of his government is due to meet with their Russian counterparts for an opening round of peace talks on the Belarusian border on Monday. 

Tara Fair

Defiant President Zelenskyy releases selfie with Defence Minister

Defiant Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy releases a selfie with Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

The photo comes as President Zelenskyy agreed to send a delegation to hold talks with Russia at a venue near the Belarusian border.

Defiant President Zelenskyy releases selfie with Defence Minister (Image: EyePress News/REX/Shutterstock)

Tara Fair

Ukrainian prisoners could be released to fight Russia

In a video speech shared on social media Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told viewers that prisoners with military experience will be released if they are willing to take part in the fight against Russia.

Tara Fair

Zelenskyy asks for fast-track EU membership

In a video speech shared on social media Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the European Union to allow Ukraine to gain membership under a special procedure immediately.

He said: “Our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be equal. I’m sure that’s fair. I am sure we deserve it.”

Tara Fair

40 hour curfew lifted in Kyiv

People resurface in Kyiv after the curfew is lifted. 

The curfew was in place for nearly 40 hours and will resume each night, from 10pm until 7am.

People resurface in Kyiv after the curfew is lifted (Image: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

People resurface in Kyiv after the curfew is lifted (Image: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Tara Fair

Kyiv Defence Ministry reports heavy Russian military loses

Kyiv’s Defence Ministry has reported heavy Russian military losses in the first four days of fighting in Ukraine. 

In a statement posted to Facebook, Ukrainian officials said approximately 5,300 Russian troops have been killed, and claimed that 191 tanks, 29 fighter jets, 29 helicopters and 816 armoured personnel carriers have been destroyed by Ukraine’s forces.

Tara Fair

16 children among 352 Ukrainian civilian deaths

At least 352 civilians in Ukraine have been killed since the invasion began, according to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said 16 children have been killed and 45 wounded over the last four days.

Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of targeting civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings and schools.

Tara Fair

Ukrainian representatives arrive for peace talks

The Ukrainian delegation has arrived to the area at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border for talks with Russia. 

According to a statement, the delegation includes the Minister of Defence Oleksiy Reznikov, adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Mykola Tochytskyi.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is not part of the delegation.

The Ukrainian delegation arrived in the area of the Ukrainian-Belarusian border to take part in talks with representatives of the Russian Federation u27a1ufe0f https://t.co/RKxx6801eh

u2014 Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

Russia loses 5,300 soldiers in first four days of fighting

Russia has lost 5,300 soldiers in the first four days of fighting in Ukraine, according to Kyiv’s Ministry of Defence. 

Tara Fair

Ukrainian officials deny Russia has captured nuclear power station

Ukrainian officials have denied Russian claims its forces have captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.

Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power station in Europe.

Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company, told the Interfax news agency that claims by Moscow that they have captured the plant are “an absolute lie, a fake”.

Earlier on Monday Russia claimed its troops had seized the plant and operations were continuing as normal.

Tara Fair

‘Putin must fail,’ Boris Johnson announces fresh sanctions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed fresh sanctions against Russia’s financial institutions following the “abhorrent” invasion of Ukraine. 

Mr Johnson said: “We have further isolated Russia from the international financial system this morning.

“Working with our partners, and the G7, we are determined to impose the most severe economic measures possible against President Putin for his abhorrent campaign against Ukraine.

“Putin must fail.”

We have further isolated Russia from the international financial system this morning. Working with our partners, and the G7, we are determined to impose the most severe economic measures possible against President Putin for his abhorrent campaign against Ukraine. Putin must fail.

u2014 Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

Luxembourg sends 100 anti-tank weapons and jeeps to Ukraine

Luxembourg’s Defence Minister has announced 100 anti-tank weapons and jeeps to be sent to Ukraine to defend against the Russian invasion. 

The government will also be sending aid to Lithuania to assist with the growing humanitarian crisis on the border.

Luxembourgu2019s defence minister announces 100 anti-tank weapons and jeeps to be sent to Ukraine, as well as sending aid to Lithuania with the growing humanitarian crisis on the border. https://t.co/NJoMC2NWo5

u2014 Joe Barnes (@Barnes_Joe) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

Russia takes hold of nuclear power plant

Russia claims to have taken control over the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine. 

Major General Igor Konashenkov, an official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defence, said: “The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have taken control of the cities of Berdyansk and Energodar . Russian servicemen are fully guarding and controlling the area around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

“NPP personnel continue to work on maintenance of facilities and control of the radioactive situation in the normal mode. The radioactive background is normal.”

The news comes days after the Russian military took control of Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in human history, 1986. 

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u2014 u0420u0418u0410 u041du043eu0432u043eu0441u0442u0438 (@rianru) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

Russia raises rates in attempt to protect tumbling rouble

Russia’s central bank has sharply raised its key rate in a desperate attempt to shore up the plummeting rouble and prevent the run of banks amid crippling Western sanctions over the Russian war in Ukraine.

The bank hiked the benchmark rate to 20 percent from 9.5 percent.

Tara Fair

Rouble plummets to record low

The Russian rouble has plummeted to a record low after Western nations moved to block Russian banks from using the SWIFT global payment system. 

This morning, the rouble dropped 26 percent against the US dollar.

The rouble was trading at a record low 105.27 per dollar (£78.95), down from about 84 per dollar (£63) late on Friday.

Restrictions on the Russian central bank target its access to more than £450billion in reserves the Kremlin has at its disposal.

They hinder Russia’s ability to support the rouble as it plunges in value.

Tara Fair

‘Don’t go to Ukraine to fight unless you’re properly trained,’ says Ben Wallace

For those without military experience, there are “better ways” to help Ukraine than travelling to join the fighting, said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, urging Britons not to go if they are not specially trained. 

On Sunday Foreign Secretary Liz Truss suggested she supported anyone who wished to travel to the country to help fight the Russian invaders.

Mr Wallace told Sky News Ms Truss was right that it was a “just cause”. 

But, he added: “If you’re keen to help and you’re a United Kingdom citizen, come and join our armed forces.”

He said: “Look, there are people who will go… I think what I would say is unless you are properly trained, unless you are a – you know – experienced member of an armed forces, I think there are better ways for you to contribute to the security of Ukraine.”

Tara Fair

Russia – Ukraine negotiations to begin today

Russia and Ukraine will begin talks today near the border at 12pm local time (9am GMT) in a bid to find peace after Vladimir Putin began the invasion of his neighbour on Thursday. 

Russia is interested in coming to an agreement that is in the interests of both sides at talks with Ukraine, Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky claimed.

Ukraine had agreed to talks with Russia “without preconditions”, the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said yesterday.

Mr Zelenskyy said: “Let them try so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as president, tried to stop the war”.

Tara Fair

Russian troops in ‘trouble’ as plans fall apart

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not going according to the Kremlin’s plans, according to British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. 

Russia is advancing forces which are now 20km northwest of Kyiv but military failures have resulted in slow progress hampered by heavy losses. 

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Wallace said: “They based all of this on this sort of bizarre assumption that the Ukrainians would welcome them as liberators, well President Putin has taken that assumption, and now that’s not the case that’s causing them to pause. It’s causing them logistical trouble.” 

He also praised the bravery and patriotism of the Ukrainians and said the country is very different to Russia where the leadership does not care about the individuals it governs.

Russian troops in ‘trouble’ as plans fall apart, warns Wallace (Image: SKY NEWS)

Tara Fair

Putin using nuclear threat as a distraction but he is ‘irrational’, warns Wallace

Russian President Vladimir Putin is using nuclear threats as a distraction, according to Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace. 

But Mr Wallace did concede Putin was unpredictable and “irrational”, making it more difficult to assess the threat. 

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Wallace said: “It doesn’t link to anything specific in their readiness structures of their forces.

“It is a big attempt to distract away from his troubles in Ukraine by just deploying into the media space these phrases.”

Pressed on whether Putin was “crazy enough” to launch a nuclear attack, Mr Wallace replied: “I think he has certainly done a lot of irrational things recently.”

Putin using nuclear threat as a distraction but he is ‘irrational’, warns Wallace (Image: SKY NEWS)

Tara Fair

UK government ‘immediately’ taking steps for new sanctions

The UK government says it is “immediately” taking steps to introduce new sanctions on Russia. 

Working together with the United States and European Union, the UK will prohibit transactions with the Russian central bank, finance ministry and wealth fund. 

In a statement, the government said: “The UK government will immediately take all necessary steps to bring into effect restrictions to prohibit any UK natural or legal persons from undertaking financial transactions involving the CBR, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.” 

More designations will be announced this week. 

Tara Fair

China snubs Russia on world stage

China snubbed Russia on the world stage when it abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Moscow’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

It was also reported that several Chinese public banks are limiting financing to purchase raw materials from Russia for fear of Western sanctions should they be seen to be supporting the Kremlin.

China also spoke in favour of Ukrainian sovereignty last week but has so far fallen short of condemning the invasion in explicit terms. 

China is Russia’s biggest trade partner for both exports and imports, buying a third of Russia’s crude oil exports in 2020 and supplying it with manufactured products from cell phones and computers to toys and clothing.

Tara Fair

Four cities braced for attack as fighting continues

Four Ukrainian cities – Cherkasy, Dnipro, Kharkiv and Vinnytsya – are braced for attack on Monday. 

Air raid sirens can be heard, warning civilians to take cover as fighting reaches a bloody fifth day. 

Clashes with saboteur groups overnight have been reported in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv but grocery shops will open from 08:00am this morning to allow residents to gather supplies. 

This morning:

– Four Air raid alerts in Cherkasy, Dnipro, Kharkiv & Vinnytsya

– Chernihiv heavily shelled overnight but one reported injury

– Clashes with saboteur groups overnight in Kyiv but grocery shops will open form 0800

– Moscow admits casualties but no numbers

u2014 James Waterhouse (@JamWaterhouse) February 28, 2022

Tara Fair

Good morning

Good morning from London. I’m Tara Fair, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on Russia and Ukraine for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: Tara.fair@reachplc.com

Twitter: @TaraFair_

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